Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 72

Thu, 14 Feb 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 15:39:39 EST
Re: [Avodah] Hot Cheese for Shabbat Lunch

From: Zev Sero _zev@sero.name_ (mailto:zev@sero.name) 

>>There's no mitzvah  of simcha on Shabbos.  There's only oneg, and it
seems obvious that that  depends entirely on ones subjective tastes,
including transient moods.   If one happens right now to be in the mood
for mac-and-cheese, I can't see  why that wouldn't be a complete
fulfilment of mitzvas  oneg.<<

Zev  Sero               

The halachic question of heating mac-n-cheese on  Shabbos I leave to others.  
If you make kiddush when you get home from shul  and have a cup of coffee, 
and if you want mac-n-cheese with your coffee instead  of a Danish, that's your 
preference and your oneg.  (Incomprehensible  preference to me but never mind.)
However I want to make a different point.  There is an issue of  kovod 
Shabbos.  Unless you are a vegetarian and /never/ eat fleishigs, it  shows a lack of 
kovod Shabbos to eat milchigs for Shabbos lunch.  /Maybe/  you could get away 
with something very chashuv -- salmon and brie? -- but really  it should be 
basar vedagim vechol mat'amim.  I say this as a person who  prefers milchigs 
and comes from a milchig kind of family.  But never would  we have had a milchig 
meal on Shabbos (well, sholosh seudos OK).  It  would have been considered 
distinctly not-Shabbosdig, like wearing a  T-shirt and denim.  We could easily 
go a whole week without eating  fleishigs, but Shabbos meals must be fleishig.  
We were once guests of people who served milchigs for a yom tov lunch  (not 
Shavuos) -- much to our surprise.  I would have been much too shy to  say 
anything, but my husband asked the hostess if she had a piece of cold  chicken in 
the fridge or something else fleishig he could eat.
Ever since then when we get invited out for a meal, my  husband always tells 
me to make sure they're serving fleishigs.

--Toby  Katz

**************The year's hottest artists on the red carpet at the Grammy 
Awards. Go to AOL Music.      
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Message: 2
From: T613K@aol.com
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 15:48:07 EST
Re: [Avodah] Baruch Shelo Asani Eved

From: R' Akiva Miller

>>The bracha must refer to an Eved  Kenaani. The proof is in the text of the 
bracha itself -- "He did not make me a  slave" -- which refers to the status I 
had when I was made.

NO ONE comes  into this world as an Eved Ivri. A Jew can be born free, and 
then get sold into  being an Eved Ivri, but he is never a slave from the  

Does "made me" necessarily mean "from birth"?  If a person becomes  blind or 
ill or poor or whatever, some time after his birth, does he not say,  "Hashem 
made me this way"?  Anyway it is possible for a Jew to actually be  born into 
a condition of slavery -- like the babies born in Egypt.
A related question.  Does a ger make a bracha, "shelo asani  goy"?  According 
to you, if he was born a goy, he shouldn't say this  bracha.  It seems to me 
that since Hashem made him a Jew, via the  proper procedure, he can now say 
the bracha "shelo asani goy."  But I don't  know the actual psak here, I never 
before thought to ask.

--Toby  Katz

**************The year's hottest artists on the red carpet at the Grammy 
Awards. Go to AOL Music.      
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Message: 3
From: "Eli Turkel" <eliturkel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 21:19:19 +0200
[Avodah] isru chag

Does Isru chag have any special significance especially in Israel where it
corresponds to the last day of chag outside of Israel

In particular do the mourning laws of the Omer apply on isru chag Pesach?


Eli Turkel

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Message: 4
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:54:35 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Clever collector

R' Mordechai Cohen:
> why isn't this plain geneivah?
> if it is true that the exasperated gvir wrote a check that he never
> intended
> would be cashed, how can you use it a kuntz to extract money from his
> acnt?

Because he wrote an actionable document. I don't think his intent counts
here; the CM gurus on list have to answer this one, though. 
I realized after I posted the question (which I'm sure is untrue - I posted
for the theoretical value) that part of the story doesn't make sense,
because in my experience anyone can call a bank, say they have a check on
so-and-so's account #xxxxxxxxxxx, and the bank will tell them if it will
clear. So we have to modify the question that they did call, and the bank
said it wouldn't clear, and they deposited money until the bank said that it
would now clear.


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Message: 5
From: Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:06:58 -0800
[Avodah] connection

please point me to a source  on the connection  between  the 3 issurim- 
moving the baddim, lo yiznach hachoshen , and lo yikareah of the meil

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Message: 6
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 00:38:37 +0200
Re: [Avodah] Does God Change His Mind?

>  : First, if He is not really merciful, but only acts as-if merciful,
>  : then what kind of example is this? ...
> : Mikha'el Makovi

>  If someone shows me how to type, but does does in a way that no
>  letters are produced, do I still not learn how to type?
> R' Micha

True. But it still makes me a bit uncomfortable, but since it's 11:55
PM, I can't quite articulate it. However, what does come into my mind
is the midrash of Hashem wearing tefillin and davening - He doesn't
ask of us anything that He doesn't do Himself.

>  :          I forget where, but somewhere, I read the objection (with
>  : which I concur) that if this were so, could not have Hashem commanded
>  : us to be merciful to chairs and lightbulbs? If a bird does not merit
>  : mercy, how can we learn from practicing mercy towards it?...
>  Hashem, I suppose, could have -- although our ancestors would need to
>  understand the concept of lightbulb in order to receive such a
>  mitzvah. However, one could ask in the reverse: if it were about
>  actual mercy, why is it limited to birds and *not* include higher
>  mammals?

Shecht rather than axepole, don't kill the calf and mother on the same
day, feed your animals before you feed yourself...I believe Rambam
discusses this.

>  The act is a practice of mercy. The reason why the cheftzah is beitzim
>  or efrochim needs separate explanation.
>  However it's the gemara that says it's not an act of mercy itself, in
>  explaining the problem with the tefillah "al kan tzippur yagiu
>  Rachmekha".

And Rambam rejects that this is the majority view. Or we can go with
the Yerushalmi that it is davka a shaliach tzibur who cannot do this,
because he'll mislead the tzibur, because he cannot explain to them
(during tefillah) what he's doing. But during a shiur? B'vadai one can
express the fact that He has mercy on the birds.

>  : is it not reasonable to say that Hashem
>  : actually was angry?...

>  Because the concept makes no sense AND implies a divisible deity. Both
>  points I already made twice now. That's why RSB and the Rambam speak
>  in terms of negative attributes. Not because of Asristotilian,
>  neoPlatonic, Metekalamunic or Scholastic thinking, even if they spoke
>  in the language of the zeitgeist.

I still haven't been convinced that it wasn't davka because of
scholastic philosophy. It doesn't seem like they're using the
language; it seems like they're using the thought itself.

Rambam as is well known, was essentially reconciling the science of
his day with Torah, much as many do today. So if Aristotle (who could
not be wrong) had proved such-and-such about Hashem or the world, then
surely the Torah concurs (for how could the Torah contradict that
which has been proven?), and so the only thing left to do is show how
everything in the Torah agrees with everything proven by Aristotle.
Those things not proven by Aristotle (such as eternity of matter,
according to Rambam) we need not be concerned with. But even there,
Rambam offered a way to reconcile Torah with eternity of matter (much
as Rav Hirsch in his Chumash rejects evolution, but offers a
hypothetical solution in his Collected Writings, to how we would deal
with evolution were it proven).

> But because the conclusions seem
>  inescapable simply within looking at the Torah and using reason. A G-d
>  who is at times angry is experiencing time.

And again, I don't see the problem with this. He is experiencing time
viz. a viz. His interaction with the world, not in Himself per se.

>  AND, a G-d who is at times angry is two things when He is angry - a
>  G-d, and His Anger. Divisibility.

Why is His anger a separate thing? Is my happiness or my anger
separate from me? No. I am me, and sometimes I have a state of anger
or happiness. So where's the divisibility? He's one God, and He has
attributes that are a part of Him.

>  : Just because (of the disputed assertion that) He actually does have
>  : mercy, doesn't mean He is subject to it. You seem to regard this mercy
>  : as something outside Him to which He is subservient or influenced by.
>  : Would we say that I am subject to my own personality? No! My
>  : personality IS me! If I am subject to myself, yofi. I should hope that
>  : Hashem is subject to Hashem.
>  You are subject to the concept of anger (to return to the same
>  middah). How and when you express that anger is you, but the very
>  concept of anger precedes you. The concept of anger cannot precede the
>  Creator of anger.

Anger precedes me? The anger is an attribute of me; I am not an
attribute of the anger.

>  REB, was far less immersed in the Torah weltenschaung than the people
>  he was disputing. This is the whole nisqatnu hadoros. REB might have
>  nice theories, but his threshold of proof is quite high. And his
>  invocation of a Torah theology over that of Chazal or the rishonim
>  smacks of R's call of a return to prophetic Judaism -- with the huge
>  distinction of the claim being mutar WRT aggadita.

Again, I would simply say that he was operating on the same sources
but had a different philosophical starting point. Medieval Jewish
philosophy had a lot of questions never asked by Chazal and a lot of
philosophical baggage never regarded by Chazal.

And in any case, why should the answers of Medieval philosophy be
beyond question? They didn't receive their answers from Sinai. This is
what many say about the science of Chazal, and I don't see why I can't
say the same about Medieval Jewish philosophy.

Heck, the rishonim say that one can disagree with a Chazalic aggadata!
Kol vachomer with Rav Saadia Gaon or Rambam! If these rishonim say we
can disagree with Chazal on midrash, why can we not disagree with
these rishonim themselves?

In any case, I never said REB is infallible. Certainly he had a
philosophical starting point, and he isn't beyond error. But I'm
saying, his answers certainly deserve consideration. Rabbi Moshe
Shmuel Glasner in his hakdamah to the Dor Revi'i says he certainly
knows he isn't beyond error and mistake, for his entire approach is
based on the fact that humans in general aren't infallible; his
predecessors can be questioned, but so can he himself be.

>  We must start with the assumption otherwise, or the entire process --
>  including the development of halakhah -- is suspect. It's a reducio at
>  absurdum: if you can believe that baalei mesorah regularly erred in
>  aggadic matters, wouldn't the same argument apply to the transmission
>  of halakhah?

Absolutely yes. Bingo. Chazal are human. Whatever was not received
from Sinai (but instead was extrapolated from Sinaitic data, or
recovered/recalled/rederived from Sinatic data that was forgotten, can
certainly be wrong. Chinuch and Ran both say that we are to follow
Chazal even when they are wrong. The entire nature of machloket means
that Chazal can be wrong - Rambam's hakdamah to the Mishna says that
everyone thinks differently - we're talking about Chazal here. Now,
pray tell, where is the guarantee that Beit Hillel correctly
determined God's will? Or Rabbi Yehoshua? Adarabba, we are told Rabbi
Eliezer did. True, elu v'elu. But OTOH, Hashem does have a psak. But
He told us to ignore His psak and go with ours. But are we correct?
Maybe, maybe not.

(This approach, controversial though it may be, flows logically, I
think, from our sources on TSBP, such as machloket, discovering new
chiddushim in the Torah, forgetting/losing Sinaitic data and having to
recover it, elu v'elu, etc. More specifically, Rabbi Moshe Shmuel
Glasner (hakdamah to Dor Revi'i) and Rabbi Berkovits (a variety of
locations - see Essential Essays on Judaism).)

(Of course, having said all this, any additional arguments I make will
be even more skeptically received than before. So be it.)

>  : Let's deconflate what Jewish thought is. Jewish thought can either be
>  : something originating with Jews (and presumably true) or something
>  : held by Jews (and not necessarily true)....
>  Or: An idea that is supportive of living according to the Torah.

Your definition is too loose. One could live a Torah lifestyle and
think that if he sins, lightning will strike him and he'll burn in
literal hellfire. Just because it is conducive to living according to
the Torah, doesn't make it true.

Rambam says that the Torah promises material benefits as a reward, in
the same way that one gives candy to a child. So in this way, this
idea of material benefit strengthens observance. But is this the
proper, "true", way? No. (Now, my analogy is not perfect. According to
Rambam, material reward is 100% true, and simply a lower, non-lishma
understanding. For a proper analogy, I need a *false* idea that will
strengthen observance. But  I think my point is clear.)

Rabbi Slifkin says that many limit the kinds of hashkafic ideas they
show their students, because they only want to express ideas that will
directly strengthen mitzvot performance. Rabbi Slifkin says this
approach is certainly valid, but it's not the only approach.

Rav Hertz, in his Sermons, Addresses, and Studies, writing on
Kabbalah, says that certain developments arose because lacking a
scientific perspective, certain individuals were unable to distinguish
truth from what benefited their mitzva observance. (Whether this is
true of Kabbalah is irrelevant; my point in citing Rav Hertz is simply
that I'm not the first to say that something's strengthening
observance doesn't make it true.)

>  : B'kitzur, if it is not Sinaitic, I can question it. If Chazal didn't
>  : see a problem with attributes (AFAIK, IMHO), then I am going to decide
>  : against what seems to me in Ramban and RSG to be philosophical and not
>  : natively Jewish....
>  But you're assuming that any idea not explicated at Sinai, and "only"
>  implied to be found through later exploration is arguable.


> (I presume only aggadita.)

Incorrect, as above.

> And if ideas implied in the Torah and helpful for AYH
>  and shemiras hamitzvos are Jewish thoughts, then I must question
>  whether their notion of what qualifies might reflect something I
>  simply didn't catch.
>  : REB, as far as I know, did not rely on any non-Jewish philosophy in
>  : this area....
>  Of course he did. Everyone does. Since Kant, the questions we ask
>  shifted. Even in the index page, you can see the hand of non-Jewish
>  philosophy, never mind its answers. REB, like RJBS, RSRH, REED, etc...
>  draw heavily from Kant in their answers as well. The exploration of
>  the Torah from the perspective of what it's like to live it rather
>  than trying to identify what's "out there" is very modern.

Obviously he had certain philosophical bases and axioms and whatnot.
But I mean, no foreign philosophy (AFAIK) was explicitly relied on by
him. He said his purpose was to learn Judaism from itself (cf. Rav
Hirsch) without any reliance on anything foreign. Whether or not he
succeeded is of course debatable. But without a doubt, he thinks
himself that he succeeded to the best of his knowledge and ability.

>  To ask a final question: If REB's argument is valid WRT Hashem's
>  emotions, why isn't it valid WRT His features? How can one say "charon
>  apo" is an idiom for anger, not a reference to the flairing of the
>  Divine Nostril, and yet insist one must stop there because the anger
>  couldn't possibly be anthropomorphic idiom?

By features, you mean physical, bodily features, and by nostril, a
physical nostril? The Torah itself says He doesn't have a body. To say
otherwise isn't merely incorrect philosophy; it's gross inability to
read what's black and white in the text.

Obviously, it could very well be that His emotions are "as-if", and
anger is an anthropomorphic idiom. The Torah doesn't say, so there's
no opportunity for correct or incorrect exegesis at all, let alone one
side making a gross clumsy inept error (like missing the glaring fact
that the Torah says He has no body). Therefore, this is up for debate,
REB versus everyone else.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 7
From: "Michael Makovi" <mikewinddale@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 01:18:42 +0200
[Avodah] Kabbalah's Legitimacy

Was: [Avodah] Does God Change His Mind?
This is a spin-off from Shiur Koma - specifically,

This is related to
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol25/v25n010.shtml#10. No one replied
to that message, so I'll ask that anyone please weigh in and that
and/or on this. My ideas are beyond the pale, but it doesn't mean I
don't want to hear reproof.

Rambam was (IMHO) wrong that the text (Shiur Koma) was inauthentic, viz. a
viz. Chazalic authorship. But I never said that I myself am
comfortable with the theosophical tendencies which prevail in these

I might compare this to my view of Kabbalah compared to Rav Hirsch's,
as interpreted by Rabbi Shelomoh Danziger (Rabbi Joseph Elias and
Dayan Grunfeld interpret Rav Hirsch to hold an opinion on Kabbalah
identical to the mainstream one). According to Rabbi Danziger, Rav
Hirsch rejects all theosophy and mysticism, and interprets Kabbalah as
an allegorical vehicle for rational truths. In other words, Rav Hirsch
accepts the Kabbalah per se, but has an entirely unique interpretation
of it; therefore, whenever Rav Hirsch uses the Zohar in his works, his
interpretation is always a completely rationalistic one, rejecting
that the Zohar actually means what it seems to mean.

See http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol16/v16n022.shtml#12 for Dayan
Grunfeld versus Rabbi Danziger

On other other hand: I completely agree with Rav Hirsch that theosophy
and mysticism are out of place in Judaism. But I disagree with him on
the Zohar's intent; from what I can tell, the Zohar and other
Kabbalistic works mean exactly what they seem to mean. My
interpretation of these works, per se, would be more in line with
Prof. Gershom Scholem and the Dor Daim.

So with Shiur Koma, I disagree with Rambam on the authenticity of the
work (just as I disagree with Rav Hirsch on the interpretation of the
intent of the Zohar), but agree with him that the ideas contained
therein are...troubling (just as I agree with Rav Hirsch that the
ideas of the literal p'shat of the Zohar are out of place in Judaism).

On http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol25/v25n010.shtml#10, I asked for
anyone to PLEASE weigh in on what I say. No one replied. So I'll ask
again. Thank you.

Mikha'el Makovi

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Message: 8
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 18:46:37 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Clever collector

On Wed, February 13, 2008 3:01 pm, Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:
: Question:
: A collector from an organization was nudging a gvir for a nice
: donation.
: Immediately, the collector called up his organization, who deposited
: $20,000 into the man's account and then presented the check for
: and withdrew all the money. Quite clever.

We discussed checks in vol 8. In Israel, it's a shetar chov. In the
US, it's easy to cancel a check so it's not even a shetar. RAFolger
didn't discuss other parts of the world (not even Basel).

Even in Israel, I would think there is no qinyan, as the shetar was
poisoned by an asmachta. It never crossed his mind that it was
possible he would pay.

Switching from baseline halakhah to paying the workmen who broke your
barrels... A rhetorical question: Does lying in order to get rid of
someone who doesn't take no for an answer ("... was nudging a gvir
...") justify paying $80,000?

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Man wants to achieve greatness overnight,
micha@aishdas.org        and he wants to sleep well that night too."
http://www.aishdas.org     - Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz, Alter of Novarodok
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 9
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 18:49:08 -0500 (EST)
Re: [Avodah] Hot Cheese for Shabbat Lunch

I'm curious to know, though, if anyone has thoughts on the original
question, and whether it would be bishul to heat up mac-n-cheese. So,
if I could remind people of the original track of this topic...

SheTir'u baTov!

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Message: 10
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 19:02:27 -0500 (EST)
[Avodah] Simchah and Oneg

On Wed, February 13, 2008 5:17 pm, R Zev Sero wrote:
: There's no mitzvah of simcha on Shabbos.  There's only oneg, and it
: seems obvious that that depends entirely on ones subjective tastes,
: including transient moods....

Thanks for pointing out to me, yet again, the distinction.

Mentally, I define the two identically, which is why (I guess) I
confuse them. Simchah is related to wanting and having, because it is
possible to be "sameiach bechelqo". "Oneg" is related to wanting and
having, as the Tanya talks about the process of getting from ratzon to
taanug. (Processes, belashon rabim: ratzon and taanug exist in Nara"n,
or perhaps all the aspects of the soul, Nara"n cha"i. Unfortunately, I
forgot where it is discussed, and Google was of no help. Remedial
Chabad courses that don't clutter the discussion with m"m dominated
the search results.)

What does it say about simchah, that it has a codified non-subjective
definition, whereas oneg does not? Does it imply anything about
simchah as a midah?

I ask because I wrote about sameiach bechelqo on Aspaqlaria yesterday
<>. My suggestion was that "chelqo" isn't one's state at any point in
time, but one's trip. It's a thought that makes it easier for me to
cope with nisyonos, the pekelach everyone has in their lives.

But in light of RZS's post, I notice my notion also implies a possible
distinction to oneg, which could be about current state. And that
would mean simchah requires more indoctrination than oneg; which would
justify defining matbei'os by which to learn it.

SheTir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "Man wants to achieve greatness overnight,
micha@aishdas.org        and he wants to sleep well that night too."
http://www.aishdas.org     - Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz, Alter of Novarodok
Fax: (270) 514-1507


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